Page 2388 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022

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MR RATTENBURY: Mr Hanson is just doing his needling thing, that he so relishes. We did consider those factors. We had a public consultation process. I have received analysis from the directorate on that. The directorate, as I explained to Ms Lee yesterday, is now finalising and taking into account all of that feedback, and thinking about the most effective way to implement this scheme. We have considered those views. We are working through them at the moment. When the government announces its final position on these matters, those factors will have been considered.


MS CASTLEY: My question is addressed to the Minister for Health. Minister, the Canberra Times today reports that an ED nurse yesterday spoke at the rally and said that nurses had resorted to wearing incontinence pads as they did not have time to go to the bathroom. The protesting nurses outside the building also said:

We’re tired. We’re sick and we’re burnt out, in every sense of that term …

Exhausted nurses not having the time to go to the toilet during their shift. Bullying and harassment [is] rife …

Minister, is it acceptable to you, as health minister, that your nurses are so overworked that they do not have time to go to the toilet and must wear incontinence pads?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Of course that situation is not acceptable. Any of those reports would of course be followed up. I listened to a lot of what the nurses and midwives had to say at the rally yesterday, and I went out and talked with some of the nurses and midwives after the rally to hear from them firsthand about their experiences. Some of those are really quite distressing. We are doing a lot of work in relation to recruitment and retention. I talked to some of them about some of the conversations I have had with Calvary, which are not necessarily mine to share.

I can share some good news from Canberra Hospital, in relation to the emergency department there. There will be an additional 14 nurses joining the team at the Canberra Hospital emergency department, with 10 of those coming from outside Canberra Health Services’ current workforce. That work on recruitment continues to bolster our frontline nursing and midwifery workforce and we continue to invest in wellbeing. We held a symposium on Monday to consider what more can be done to support nurses’ and midwives’ wellbeing. We know it has been really difficult over recent times, not just in the ACT but across the country. Certainly, I would expect that if hospitals themselves are hearing this they should be doing something to address the challenges that those nurses and midwives are facing.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, would you describe these workplace conditions as family friendly, like we have here at the Assembly?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Having recently had reason to read through the ACT nurses’ and midwives’ enterprise agreement, I can say that there are certainly a lot of

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